The founder and all-female staff of the Vatican’s women’s magazine resigned en masse in protest of the church’s alleged efforts to censor their work and put the magazine “under the direct control of men.”
In an open letter addressed to Pope Francis, Women Church World founder Lucetta Scaraffia said that Andrea Monda, the new editor of the Vatican daily newspaper in which Women Church World appears as a monthly supplement, began exerting control over the magazine after it reported on the sexual abuse of nuns by Catholic priests. Last month, Pope Francis acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by male clergy for the first time after being asked about a piece published by Women Church World. According to Scaraffia, Monda used the daily paper to undermine their reporting on the scandal, and even sought out “obedient” women to write the magazine’s editorials.
“We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and progressive de-legitimization,” wrote Scaraffia. She and all of the 11 women working on Women Church World decided to quit, she said, after being threatened with an “attempt” to put Monda in charge of the magazine.
Scaraffia’s letter said that the publication had received countless “painful” letters from nuns alleging abuse by priests after their initial coverage of the scandal.
“We couldn’t stay silent anymore; the trust that so many women had put in us would have been gravely wounded,” she wrote.
In a statement, Monda declined to acknowledged the resignations and characterized Scaraffia’s decision to leave as “free and autonomous.” He also denied having selected editorial writers for the magazine “based on the criterion of obedience,” claiming that the truth was actually “the opposite.”